How long should I keep them in?

Discussion in 'Managing Your Flock' started by LadyIslay, May 24, 2010.

  1. LadyIslay

    LadyIslay Out Of The Brooder

    I added six more hens to the flock on Thursday. My flock is (usually) free-range; though, and the other chickens want OUT of the hen house NOW. How long should I keep everyone locked up before I let them loose? How long does it take for the new chickens to imprint that this hen house is their new home (so they'll come back and roost there at night)?
     
  2. Olive Hill

    Olive Hill Overrun With Chickens

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    Apr 19, 2009
    Depends on the chickens, some are a bit brighter about it than others. I do find when there are other adult chickens there to show them the ropes it's generally a bit safer to let them out a bit sooner than you might otherwise. That is, if they all get along. [​IMG] Can you not let some chickens out and keep some in? I'd continue to let the established flock free-range while the new girls are homed and then over the course of a couple days let some of the new hens out while keeping some in each day until all are out.
     
  3. LadyIslay

    LadyIslay Out Of The Brooder

    We have no means of dividing our flock up: they have one very big hen house with no kind of dividers. I'll probably let them out tomorrow... it has been almost a week.
     
  4. Olive Hill

    Olive Hill Overrun With Chickens

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    Apr 19, 2009
    I didn't mean to separate the flock entirely, just go in in the morning, hand select out your established flock members and let them out of the coop. Leave the others in. With only 18 it wouldn't take more than 5 minutes in the morning and if they're already trained to come back in at night anyway all you have to do is let them in when it's time.
     
  5. LadyIslay

    LadyIslay Out Of The Brooder

    Ah - I see what you mean. No, that probably wouldn't work, either. If the door to the hen house is closed, the other hens would go to bed *under* the hen house (it is positioned on two very large logs), and we can't reach them under there. On Friday, the morning after we got the new hens, one of the older hens escaped while my husband was checking on the food & water. We couldn't catch her that day, and that night, she nestled under the hen house like she belonged there, despite much poking and attempts to get her out. Thankfully, nothing ate her, and the next day, we were able to catch her.

    Our chicken house is basically just a very big room with one human-sized door (with nexting boxes and perches in some places). We didn't design it, but it is raccoon-proof and dry, so we'll continue to use it until we're ready to expand our chicken operations to include meat birds.
     

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